Nearly fifty percent of the population of Honduras is under the age of eighteen, and unfortunately, these youth are facing a myriad of issues in their country. Some of the main problems include: absentee parents (many leave the country to find work or some families experience abandonment from one parent or the other), gangs recruiting children, and a general discontentment with the political situation in the country due to corruption, affecting many areas of life including the medical and educational systems. The youth are often left with little or poor guidance, only contributing to and causing the issues.
That’s why WGM-Honduras has caught the vision of the 4-14 movement. This movement, spearheaded by Youth With A Mission (YWAM), focuses on ministering to children between the ages of four and fourteen. Studies have shown that it is between these ages that people are more open and receptive to the Gospel and are more likely to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
WGM-Honduras partners with the Iglesia Evangélica de Santidad en Honduras (IESH) (the Evangelical Holiness Church in Honduras) and together they are working to minister to the young population. Currently, there are two avenues of work in this ministry – youth camps/training curriculum and Sunday School curriculum.
The first camp was held in January 2015 in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. The leaders and camp workers arrived one week early to receive training on how to run the camp and prepared for the 90 campers that arrived the following week.
The group of volunteers that worked hard to make the first camp in January 2015 a success.
The campers came from 12 of the 18 departments of Honduras. Each day, the campers learned about one of seven “spheres” of life that the 4-14 Movement focuses on: Family, Education, Science, Art, Economy, Government, and Communications.
Campers making jewelry on “Economy day” during the January 2015 camp.
The youth learned about worldview and how being a Christian affects how they view and live out their faith in each sphere. What a person believes, affects how they live. The campers learned a lot, grew in their faith or began a life in Christ, and had a wonderful time!
Many campers dedicated their lives to Christ during the evening worship services. January 2015.
A second camp was held in January 2016 for the new students of Escuela El Sembrador, one of the ministries of WGM-Honduras.
Out of this camp, a 4-14 Committee consisting of Hondurans church lay leaders and WGM missionaries was formed to promote and advance this movement in Honduras. The committee uses the same training curriculum, modified to the context of the Honduran culture, to train the leaders of IESH churches around the country to hold their own camps.
Curriculum for the Children’s Ministries of Local Churches
After the camp, the 4-14 Committee saw a need in Honduras to provide further training and development for leaders and children’s ministry workers in the local churches. Therefore, the Committee has turned their attention to developing Sunday School curriculum, based on the principles of the camp materials, for continual ministry with children week after week, that the 3-days to one-week camps cannot provide. The Committee is working closely with IESH National Coordinator, Rev. Jorge Gomez, in the development of the curriculum and aligning the materials with the strategic plan of the IESH.
In talking with Claudia Bonilla, chair of the 4-14 Committee, it was hard to miss her passion and enthusiasm for ministering to children. She first became involved in the movement because her pastor signed her up to help with the first camp in January 2015. She admitted that she didn’t really know what she was getting into; however, Claudia is thankful because she can use her skills and talents in this important ministry. She has also enjoyed visiting churches in other departments of Honduras to train them with the camp training materials. She looks forward to the day when they will have the Sunday School materials ready to share with local churches around the country.
Evening worship service during the camp at Escuela El Sembrador, January 2016.
Ethan Batschelet, WGM Missionary Disciple and 4-14 Committee Member, has also enjoyed working with the ministry. He helped extensively with the first camp and now helps guide and facilitate the 4-14 Committee.
The 4-14 Committee hopes to have the majority of the Sunday School materials ready by the end of the year 2016. In the future, they also hope to set up a fund that can provide scholarships for the Honduran youth to participate in the camps and help with school supplies.
The January 2015 camp ended with a day of service out in the community.
The 4-14 Committee is excited and passionate to reach the youth of Honduras. It is a hard ministry with all the problems that the young people are facing, but they are excited by the blessings of the ministry they have seen so far. The Committee requests prayer for more local churches to get involved. The campers have had a wonderful time and have learned and grown in their faith, but culturally, the idea of sending children away for a 3-5 day camp is still new to many families. Additionally, several local churches currently have small or no children’s ministry. However, the Committee is expectant that their work will help the churches because it not only provides training for those involved in children’s ministry, but it will also provide Sunday school materials that the leaders can utilize in their local ministries.
Heidi Buell is a WGM Missionary Disciple working in Honduras.